Book Review: AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora RIsing
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - first book


The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm. A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates. A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder. An alien warrior with anger management issues. A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into Ty, in case you were wondering.

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would, given previous experiences with the authors’ books and my rocky relationship with sci-fi generally.

I borrowed AURORA RISING off a friend, because I really wanted to like something by these incredibly popular authors. So far, what I’ve tried has either been to gimmicky or I’ve found too problematic.

Is it a completely bonkers space epic where random science-y words are thrown out to make people seem smart and futuristic? Yes – completely. Can anyone have a conversation without sarcasm or thinking “s/he is hot?” Nope. Did I mind? Not as much as I thought.

I largely managed to suspend my disbelief, drawn in by the snappy pacing and out-of-this-world action. It’s part adventure, part mystery and part heist book. If you like misfits up against insane odds, written by authors clearly having fun and not taking the “serious” science fiction route (but blowing it a massive raspberry), then this is a book for you.

Unlike ILLUMINAE, AURORA RISING is a traditionally formatted book – i.e. chapters written in prose. It’s told from multiple character’s perspective, first person but the names at the top meant it was easy enough to tell them apart.

One of the characters, Zila, hardly says anything. Her POV chapters could be removed and only a handful of lines would need to be added elsewhere. However, I liked her blunt assessments. Unlike her smart-talking squadmates, she doesn’t spare words on their silly bicker-banter.

There is hardly any non-quippy conversation, which did get a bit wearing by the end, but there were some really nice character moments in between. The variety of characters and skill sets played off each other nicely.

I definitely want to read the sequel, but I’ll probably wait and borrow it off a friend again.

Read my reviews of other books by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff:

Written together:

The Aurora Cycle (this series):

The Iluminae files:

Written by Jay Kristoff:

The Nevernight Chronicles:

By Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner:

The Other Side of the Sky:

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